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Fancy Lettering

Discover the advanced techniques and special effects that will take your signwriting to the next level including block lettering, the 3D effect, bevelled lettering, understanding shadows and much more. This one-day workshop offers a rare opportunity to learn advanced signwriting techniques, many of which are inspired by vintage lettering styles from popular culture, fairground art and heritage signage.

It is important to be able to draw good letters before embellishing them so this course is designed as a follow on to students of our five day traditional signwriting course or for those that already have professional signwriting experience.

Upcoming Courses

What will you learn on the course?

Discover the advanced techniques that will take your signwriting to the next level including block lettering, the 3D effect, bevelled lettering, understanding shadows and much more.

  • Block lettering (making a letter appear three-dimensional) on straight or curved lettering layouts
  • Drawing perspective block lettering and using vanishing points
  • Painting a letter to give the impression that it’s bevelled, giving the illusion that it has been cut with a chisel or that its standing proud from a surface, including bevell on complex shapes
  • Understanding shadows (a letter can have multiple shadows in different directions) and how to use two tone shadows to create visual standout from a background
  • Blending colours on letters to mimic light and shade to help the letters stand out
  • Flamboyant painting for dazzling effects
  • How to select the right colour combinations for maximum standout for your lettering designs and combining colour shades to suggest which direction the light is coming from
  • Creating ornamented letters with correctly placed embellishments, curves and scrolls – no need to ever rely on ‘Rosewood’ if you want to create an authentic Victorian or retro design
  • Adding one or more outlines to your lettering to create visual impact against your background and ensuring your outlines work with your block
  • Overall you’ll learn the confidence to know when to break the rules to ensure that these decorative styles work with the design constraints you have to work within – artistic licence has been employed by signwriters for centuries!
Who teaches this course?
Joby Carter teaches this one day course and he will share the advanced signwriting techniques that he has learned from over 30 years of vintage fairground influence and experience.

In our modern times signs are often clean and simple and lack the ornate, quirky and bright embellishments found on retro style signs and designs.

Joby has spent a lifetime creating signs in this eye-catching style. You’ll learn in his workshop where the walls are adorned with signs showing different styles through the decades.

Who is this course for?
Signwriters looking to add emphasis and style to their designs will enjoy this course. Correct use of embellishments can only work on well-drawn and well laid out lettering.

This course is therefore only recommended for those that have completed our 5 day signwriting course, or those who have professional experience as a signwriter.

Where is the course held?

The courses are held in a restoration workshop know as ‘Joby’s Paintshop’ at the Carters Steam Fair Yard, in White Waltham near Maidenhead. The walls of the workshop are adorned with hand painted signs showing different lettering styles and special effects through the decades. 

Carters Yard, Grove Park Industrial Estate, Waltham Road, White Waltham,
Maidenhead, SL6 3JF

During the course you will have the opportunity to look around the restoration workshops to see the variety of real-life restoration projects that Joby Carter and team work on as well as Joby’s personal archive of hand painted signs.

What is included in the course price?

All materials are provided for the duration of the course.

Lunch and hot drinks are also provided. You are welcome to bring your own mug if preferred.

You have the opportunity to buy your own equipment including paints, brushes and mahl sticks at the end of the day – cash and card payments accepted.

How many places are there on the course?

There are 15 places on the course to ensure everyone can watch the demonstrations and ask questions.

What happens when I book my course?

When you place your order you will be emailed an e-ticket, which is your course booking confirmation.

What equipment do I need and what should I wear?

You do not need to bring any materials or equipment with you, as we provide everything you need on the course.
Please remember to wear clothes that are comfortable, and you don’t mind getting messy, please wear sturdy closed toe footwear, no flip flops or sandals.
We provide food and hot drinks, but you might like to bring a mug or travel mug and your own spoon. If you want to bring any additional snacks you are welcome to do so.

Joby Carter doing advanced signwriting
Joby Carter with some fancy lettering on a fairground truck
Fancy lettering styles in the style of Fred Fowle

Apply for funding for your course

Signwriting, gilding, fairground art and coach painting are heritage skills and some organisations offer funding to those interested in learning these traditional skills.

We encourage you to research funding opportunities with QEST, Heritage Crafts and the Crafts Council.